Reference : A Body’s Narrative: Appropriation of Abortion, between Decision-Making and Legal Devi...
Scientific congresses and symposiums : Unpublished conference/Abstract
Arts & humanities : Philosophy & ethics
A Body’s Narrative: Appropriation of Abortion, between Decision-Making and Legal Deviance. Thoughts on Choice and Decision in Belgian and French Abortion Laws.
Glorie, Caroline mailto [Université de Liège > Département des Arts et Sciences de la communication > Département des Arts et Sciences de la communication >]
SWIP Annual Conference and General Meeting "Women’s Bodies"
du 21 au 22 novembre 2014
Society for Women in Philosophy Ireland
[en] Abortion ; Deviance ; Sartre ; Butler
[en] Abortion is a borderline experience of both body and community because it requests a decision on death. This experience reveals how self-constitution is, in fact, a collective stake: the community regulates in which domains the subject’s body exists and delimitates, through silence and taboo, the zones endangering its own order. Yet, the body is shaped by contingency; it includes inderterminacy. Agreeing to take the body as base to aim towards a community in which every consciousness would have an open dimension (J. Butler) requires acknowleding its affectation (Sartre).
Decriminalization of abortion (voted in 1975 in France) appears as the glorious outcome of a route of wrestling feminist emancipation. How to explain, then, that abortion has remained a taboo experience, lived as an abnormality (S Divay, 2004)? If ones speaks about it, one speaks little and poorly. Why?
My hypothesis is that abortion embodies the constitution of a new subject. According to Foucault, laws recognise the subjects they require to legitimise themselves. A subject who wants to be recognized by the law is, simultaneously, constructed by it. In this perspective, I suggest that the French abortion law constructs a new subject in the decision-making field. Furthermore, the need of such law enlightens the existing a frontier between who depends on law and who does not.
Despite legal recognition of this subject, this situation is only partially accepted by the community. The right to decide on life and death is not acknowledged to separate individuals (especially women?). The abortion law creates a specific subject who must decide on a domain that “should” not depend on individual decision. Women bearing unwanted pregnancy face an “obligation to decide”. Though, the community blames their "deviant autonomy" for a claiming right and a cultural taboo.
Abortion reveals that women’s self-constitution as autonomous subjects remains difficult. It reveals, more broadly, the role of an escaping body in the constitution of any subject. Specifically, the body-who-aborts appears as what escapes already: the decision to abort is an afterwards decision, the subject reacts to an established fact, being pregnant. In this case, how can the subject succeed in constituting herself as autonomous while facing, on the one hand, a binding law and, on the other, a body, that is no longer the ultimate refuge for an action (Sartre)?
I suggest using narratives aborting-subjects make of their body to grasp the appropriation of an experience of the escaping body. In this way, abortion offers an opportunity to reflect on the constitution of a subject from what roots a body: affectation. I argue that self-narrative scattered on blogs, forums and hand-made brochures are attempts at appropriations of abortion experiences. These narratives address nobody; they are officious texts and are shaped by current means of communication. They constitute the network of a speech committed to talk about their body. These narratives enable a reflexion on appropriation of this particular experience and its particular temporality: the moment of decision and the slow self- constitution, between Sartre’s freedom project and a split up memory.

There is no file associated with this reference.

Bookmark and Share SFX Query

All documents in ORBi are protected by a user license.